France's Parrot has today announced an upgrade to its already pretty capable Bebop 2 drone, the Bebop 2 Power. The built-in camera seems about the same as the previous model, but as its name suggests, this flavor has been given a power boost. Pilots can now get an hour's worth of flight time, though that will need to be split into two sessions. Still, up to 60 minutes in the air with only one stop to hotswap the battery ain't too shabby.
The Bebop 2 Power comes with two 3,350 mAh batteries that each offer a flight time of up to 30 minutes between charges, meaning that the user can get an hour in the air if the four-rotor drone is brought down to terra firma for a quick battery swap. Parrot has also opted to include a pair of FPV goggles and a Wi-Fi controller in the box.
The included Skycontroller 2 has a wireless range of up to 2 km (1.2 mi), while the camera drone has a flashing blue light to the rear that should help the user to keep tabs on it from a distance.
Flight control comes via the new FreeFlight Pro iOS/Android app running on a pilot's smartphone or tablet, and works with the dual joystick controller or the Cockpitglasses 2 goggles. The goggles are compatible with "the majority of smartphones (up to 6 inches)" and put the user in the virtual pilot seat, offering a 96 degree field of view. Flight information like altitude, speed and battery level are displayed in the virtual space, HUD style.
The Bebop 2 Power's suite of sensors know when the drone is being launched from the hand, initially turning the rotors slowly when in the hand and speeding up when tossed up into the air, or from the ground.
A sport pilot mode has been tuned for power-play drone racing at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) and an aerial mode has been designed for calmer, more controlled flying – though each mode can be tweaked to suit pilot preference. Meanwhile, 3-axis digital stabilization and upgrades to the machine learning technology should help keep things on the level.
Aerial photographers get four pre-programmed flying movements to play with, and four selfie modes use visual recognition and GPS positioning of the pilot's smartphone to ensure the user stays in center frame during "dronies." A follow-me mode has been integrated into the drone, with AI-like smarts able to identify subjects captured by its camera for tracking. There's a useful Touch & Fly feature, too, that will see the Bebop 2 Power autonomously fly to a position on the map selected by the user, and an included geo-fencing function will keep the drone within a specified zone.
The Bebop 2 Power's camera rocks a familiar-sounding 14 MP CMOS image sensor capable of Full HD video at 30 frames per second and of snapping JPEG and RAW stills through a wide-angle lens with anti-distortion technology. The 8 GB of internal storage is the same as the 2015 model, too.
The camera drone is due for release this month for US$599.99 and comes in a matte black finish with gloss accents. The promo video below shows the new drone in action.
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